With the future of on the the UK's most beloved institutions in the NHS remaining unpredictable, two in three over 50s even have admitted that they would pay more tax to ensure its survival, according to new data.
Celebrating its 70th birthday this year, the health service is a point of national pride for one and all, but when it comes to its long- and short-term health, opinion is very much divided, with plans for action proving polarising according to a poll of over 10,500 people aged 50 and over by Saga.
Fears of the NHS' decline are increasing with stories of squeezed budgets and diminishing numbers of staff wearing down the service's efficacy to the point that 25% of those polled believed that provision had noticeably declined in the past 12 months and up to 63% of women claiming it was less effective than in years gone by.
Bleak assessments of what lies in store for the NHS five and 10 years down the line were also proffered, with over half insisting that the modern-day health service is in the worst condition they have ever known and 90% strongly believing that it must change dramatically to cope with an ageing population.
“The NHS is highly regarded amongst our members, who appreciate how much it has achieved over the last 70 years," said Saga Head of Communications, Lisa Harris. "However, there is no doubt that it is under great strain.
"How the NHS addresses - and must continue to address - the many and varied requirements of not only an older but growing population is one of the most emotive issues of our age," Lisa added, with . "And it’s a topic that’s not going to go away.”
Up to 75% thought that expectation on the NHS was too great, with 66% happy to pay more in taxes in order to ensure its smooth running in the future. Some 40% of those asked were positive about the service's future, confident in future improvement, while on the other end of the spectrum, 25% doubted it would survive to care for them later in life.
For more information, head to http://saga.co.uk/